I have been wanting to get to the Hawker's Market now since its inaugural market back in March. So it was with great anticipation that I headed down to the East Van Studios on East Cordova with two friends to find out what this event is all about.
The Hawker's Market is an initiative to support local food producers and give them a venue within which to promote their products. There were a few vendors that I recognized from their multiple appearances at the weekend Vancouver Farmer's Market (Nice Pops, Aussie Pie Guys) but many vendors were small "Ma and Pa" businesses that I had not come across before.
The East Van Studios where it takes place is fairly "cozy" so expect to be elbow to elbow with your fellow Marketers as you meander around the crowded room and make the tough decision about what you sample. The youngish crowd all carrying around their drinks, the frequent bumping of elbows and the high decibel level made the event seem more like a night at the club than a market! Quite unique to say the least, and not exactly what I had expected.
Myself and my two friends had not had dinner before going (I highly recommend you not!) so we got to sample from almost all of the vendors. A few words of advice- PRE-PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS as the event sold out at this latest market early on the day of the event so those who showed up at the door looking to get in were turned away. You will also save a few bucks by purchasing online ($11.59 vs. $15). Secondly, ARRIVE EARLY, as some vendors had already run out of some/all of their products by the time we arrived at 8:45 (the event starts at 7pm). Lastly, DO NOT EAT DINNER BEFOREHAND as there are lots of tasting things that you will want to try so you want to arrive hungry!
Here are some of the highlights from our evening at the 4th ever Hawker's Market on September 28, 2013:
The Endless Meal- This Underground Supper Club, with roots in Gastown, was serving up tender braised short ribs in a chocolate-stout sauce (great flavour combo!), mashed potatoes (unfortunately they had ran out by the time we got to the front of the line) and a refreshing pear and pumpkin seed coleslaw. Find out more about what they offer on their very pretty website (click here).
Wonton Girl- These friendly folks were serving up a great bargain, offering 5 wontons plus a very delicious broccoli and cauliflower salad for only $5. We especially enjoyed the vegetarian wontons (sweet potato, mushroom). Click here to see their website, where there is info on how to order some of these little gems, and also about their home catering services.
Yayas Kitchen- The nice ladies at this stand were offering South Asian food, mostly Pakistani, just like Grandma would make it (Yaya is a name of endearment for a Greek grandma). The portions that they were serving would also make grandma proud (what a great deal!) and you were guaranteed to be greeted by a smile:)
Chouchou crepes- This lovely french lady (love her sign!) was singlehandedly tossing sweet and savoury crepes out of her truck to the long line up of hungry marketers. We chose the Juliette, a sweet crepe with apple compote, ricotta and salted caramel. Although it was a bit messy to share, it was pretty decadent! Find Chouchou on Twitter (@chouchou crepes) to locate her find out where she is hanging out when you have a crepe craving!
Nice Pops- I absolutely LOVE the Nice Pops ladies and always look forward to chatting with them at the Mount Pleasant Vancouver Farmer's Market on Sundays. They are the sweetest! And their pops are equally awesome! They put together unbelievable flavour combinations, including the cucumber rosermary and plum ginger pops that we enjoyed at the Hawker's Market. Find out what their weekly flavours are (they change all the time based on what is locally available) and where you can find them here. They are almost closed for the year so you better hurry!
Happily Stuffed- The name pretty much tells the tale. The cookies here are available in neat flavours (chocolate chipotle bacon, how cool!) and inside, you will find a hidden surprise (nutella stuffed inside a cookie just has to be yummy!). Their other claim to fame is that they are gluten-free! They are on Facebook (Happily Stuffed Baking Co.), where you will find pics that will make you drool!
Ramen Burgers- Last but not least, I must make mention of the infamous Ramen Burger, that had a long line-up of marketers running through the middle of the market all night long. We did not try one ourselves so I cannot comment on how they tasted, but putting a burger on a bun made of deep-fried ramen is certainly a unique concept! With all the hype around this burger, I would not be surprised to see it reappear at the next market!
If you are interested in coming out to show your support for these hard-working small business owners (a very noble cause!), the next Hawker's Market will be taking place on November 9th and tickets will soon be available for purchase on their website (see here).